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Common Assessment Tools for Drug Abuse in Teens

by Carrie Cross, studioD

Identifying a teenager of suspected drug abuse or dependency is an issue many doctors and caregivers face. To assist with a diagnosis, a doctor or caregiver may refer to a book published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These guidelines help her in choosing an assessment tool to determine the drug of use, the severity of the problem, and the physical, emotional and social repercussions. Once she has assessed this information, she can develop a treatment plan.

Adolescent Drinking Index

The Adolescent Drinking Index is used by schools, clinics, substance abuse programs and programs for teens with psychological problems. A prerequisite for the person delivering the assessment is a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field and the ability to be able to interpret the results. The ADI uses 24 questions to determine whether a drinking problem exists in your teen. It takes approximately five minutes to take and 10 minutes to score.

Drug Use Screening Inventory – Revised

A common assessment used by drug counselors is the revised edition of the Drug Use Screening Inventory (DUSI-R). The assessment tool takes approximately 20 minutes to deliver and consists of 159 true or false questions. At the end of the screening, the counselor has enough information about the teenager to identify the type of treatment needed and how to monitor the plan's progress. It is commonly used with teens who have behavioral and emotional issues.

Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory - Adolescent Version

The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory Adolescent Version (SASSI-A), is designed for adolescents who may be unwilling to admit substance abuse. The 100 questions are subtle and are aimed at exposing abuse and dependency. It is commonly used in schools, mental health and criminal facilities, and medical and vocational settings. The assessment tool requires no formal training on the part of the person administering the questionnaire and can be self-administered by the teen under supervision.

Teen Addiction Severity Index

This assessment tool is primarily administered in substance abuse facilities and clinical settings. The Teen Addiction Severity Index (T-ASI) is often used with teenagers who have a drug dependency and a psychiatric or other similar disorder. The assessment is given by a medical professional or trained technician. It takes approximately 45 minutes to deliver and approximately 10 minutes to score.

About the Author

Carrie Cross has been writing for profit and pleasure for more than 35 years. Her background includes business, real estate, entrepreneurship, management, health and nutrition. A registered nurse, she has published various pieces, including web content, numerous newspaper and magazine articles and columns and six books.

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